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Article: The Indian CEO - a global phenomenon

The Indian CEO - a global phenomenon

The Indian CEO - a global phenomenon


For something that was a rare phenomenon a decade or so back, the recent spurt in a whole lot of individuals of Indian origin occupying top-notch positions in multi-national conglomerates and global entities would if the trend continues become run-of-the-mill some more years hence. Some of the cream companies in the areas of IT, ITES, social media, that have a large presence of youth and known for path-breaking initiatives like Microsoft, Google, Adobe, Cognizant, MasterCard are brilliant showcasing examples of how the young Indian is perceived today.

Let us pore over some of the names that have created history by their path-breaking attitudes that have brought them where they are today.

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1. Satya Nadella -Satya Nadella succeeded Steve Ballmer to become the third CEO of Microsoft in February 2014. Microsoft has become the biggest company, worth of $78 billion, to be headed by an Indian CEO.He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering in electronics and communication from Manipal Institute of Technology, Karnataka. After moving to the US, Nadella earned an MS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Satya Nadella worked with Sun Microsystems, as a member of its technology staff, prior to joining Microsoft in 1992. Microsoft products are Windows, Bing, Office, Skype, Xbox, Azure and Surface that are used worldwide. he has within 22 years worked through the ranks to finally reach the position of CEO. “During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” is what Bill Gates, Microsoft’s Founder and Member of the Board of Directors, said regarding him.

2. Shantanu Narayan – He had joined Adobe Systems in 1998, one of the world’s largest and most diversified software companies in the world. Working his way up he was appointed CEO in 2007. Under Narayen’s leadership, technology insight and operational expertise have strengthened Adobe's culture of innovation, expanded the company into new markets, and extended its product portfolio and global reach. Basically from Hyderabad India, Narayen holds a Bachelor of Science in electronics engineering from Osmania University in India, a Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Science in computer science from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.

3.Rajeev Suri – Known for his deep expertise in many areas of technology, particularly mobile technology, and related topics like data analytics, cloud computing. Rajeev Suri had joined Nokia Solutions and Networks in 1995, worked in several areas of responsibility and is today president and CEO of the company. Born in India, he did his Engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology, landed in Singapore but is today based in Espoo, Finland. His initiatives have delivered a complete turnaround, taking non-IFRS operating profitability from significant loss to achieving the highest quality, cash flows have become strongly positive and revenues have literally multiplied, after he took over.

4.Sundar Pichai – One of the latest to join the Indian bandwagon of CEOs in multinational companies, he is the new CEO of the world’s most popular and powerful search engine giant, Google. Hand-picked by the founders themselves for his leading abilities in developing mobile OS and other advanced applications, Sundar Pichai, a 1972 born from Chennai, who did Metallurgical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur, then MS from Stanford and MBA at Wharton, initially joined Google in 2004. He was appointed CEO on 11th August, 2015.

5.Ajaypal Singh Banga – He is the CEO of MasterCard, an American financial services corporation that processes payments between the banks of merchants when purchases are made through the brand card. Banga was appointed CEO in July 2010. Mastercard has more than 7000 employees around the world and has worth of $7.5 billion. Ajay Banga was born in Khadki, Maharashtra, India. He holds a degree in Economics from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University and MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He has worked extensively in Nestle, Citigroup and then Pepsico before finally landing at MasterCard.

6.Sanjay Kumar Jha – He became the CEO of Global Foundries in January 2014. Global Foundries is the world's first full-service semiconductor foundry with a truly global manufacturing and technology footprint. Prior to this Sanjay Kumar Jha was CEO of Motorola’s mobile devices business. Earlier than this he was CEO at Qualcomm.. Jha was born in Bihar, India and holds a PhD in electronics engineering from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. He received his bachelor’s from the University of Liverpool, England.

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More Indians in this elite following

There are very many others also who have made their mark in the world of international corporates and done the Indian face proud by joining this elite list as CEOs in multi-national enterprises.

  • Francisco D Souza of Indian-origin is the chief executive officer of Cognizant. He was appointed CEO in January 2007 and is ranked among the youngest chief executive officers in the software services sector.
  • Dinesh Paliwal is the Chief Executive Officer of Harman International, a leading provider of premium audio and infotainment systems for the automotive, consumer and professional markets. He has served as the CEO since July 2007. Indian-born Paliwal has lived and worked in Australia, China, India, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States.
  • Sanjay Mehrotra along with Dr. Eli Harari and Jack Yuan fonded SanDisk in 1988. An American multinational company, SanDisk designs, develops and manufactures flash memory storage solutions and software. Its products are sold in more than 100 countries and have the total revenue of $6.2 billion. Sanjay Mehrotra, along with being the co-founder of SanDisk, has also been its CEO since 1st January, 2011.
  • A graduate from IIT Kharagpur and MBA from the Harvard School of Business, Ajit Jain, is an Indian born president and Co-CEO of Berkshire Hathway worth $10 billion. According to the Forbes Global 2000 Berkshire Hathway is the ninth largest public company in the world.
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Take on this healthy trend

It is a welcome change in recent times of Indians increasingly being elevated to positions of power and responsibility, an indication of how Indians are being perceived as professionals. Mind you, the average age of the Indian professional in IT and its related fields also happens to be one of the lowest in the world. It speaks a lot about the traditional values of Indians that go hand in hand with modern day thinking. The attitude towards problem solving, the ability to tackle problems with determination and the spirit to try and win despite the odds are very much part of the Indian psyche. This has been observed over time and the accrued benefits are now beginning to show. An eye-opener of sorts but what a lesson to coming generations, that if you are at your job and keep your head down, there is no reason why you should not be rewarded in the manner that befits your capabilities and just efforts.

There is a new wind blowing, the harbinger of good things to come. For where there are opportunities there are responsibilities too. Where there are responsibilities the chances of positive delivery also improve. And when probability of chance improves, there is no reason why success should take a back seat. 


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